• Published 15th Mar 2013
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Fallout Equestria: Shades of Grey - Gig



Some of us aren't heroes. Does it make us the villains?

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Prologue

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“Wastelanders: honest, clever, alive. Pick any two.”

Prologue

“What do you know about the DERTA?”
The salesmare across the bars looked up from the plasma defender in front of her, shrugged, and went back to her inspection.

“Not much. T’was a pre-war research center I believe, but I’ve never heard of anypony ever going there. Or even knowing where it’s supposed to be in the first place. Why’s that?”

Her name was Chrystal, and to me she was the best gun dealer on this side of the Wasteland. A cunning mare, for sure. And quite stunning, too. White coat, pink mane, lovely eyes, and a smile that begged for a kiss.

Good thing I’m not into mares, or else I’d be just an afternoon snack for her. She sure didn’t get this far by shaking hoofs. Nor by being charitable. Somehow, I doubted that being a mare myself offered any kind of protection against her charms.

“Just heard some scavengers’ gossip”, I lied. “They were talking about some fancy security systems over there. But hey, even the Ministries’ outhouses had lasers turrets back in the days, so I don’t know why they were so excited about it.”

She looked up from the gun again, and I put on the best poker face I could manage. Then, after a dozen seconds, she spoke again:
“Yeah, it’s not like it’s the first time a legend of a pre-war El Dorado popped up around here. So, I tell you what: sixty caps for the plasma defender, plus two hundred caps for the assault rifle, plus twenty-seven caps’ worth of old coins, minus forty-five caps’ worth of ammo, minus three hundred and fifty for your new hunting rifle barrel, and you owe me one hundred and eight caps. Since you’re a regular and since I know you won’t find this kinda replacement part anywhere else in the Wasteland, I’ll wrap it up at a hundred caps flat. Deal?”
She extended her hoof toward me, a very salesmare-like smile on her face. I regarded her with suspicion. Chrystal, doing cuts? It didn’t sit right with me.
“You’re not exactly the kind of mare to lower your margins for anypony, Chrystal.”
Her smile faltered a bit. After a few seconds of silence, she embraced the shop stalls behind her with her still raised hoof.
“Spring, tell me, do you notice anything different about this place since the last time you came here?”

I looked around. On the walls, on the shelves, everywhere in the room, pristine weapons and armors gleamed in all their glory. Sealed ammunition boxes sat in a corner, each labeled with care. On a side, there were some gun parts which looked like they were just coming out some Old World factories.
Truth to be told, it was a glorious sight, especially to a kleptomaniac like me. Sadly, they all lied beyond strong looking steel bar, far beyond my reach.

“Not really, no”, I answered honestly, “Everything still looks awesome and too expensive for me.”
She sighed.
“That’s exactly it, my dear. It’s too awesome and expensive. Nopony in this forsaken land looks for brand new or precision equipment. You’re kind of an exception – and even then I know it’s because each time I sell you for ten caps of stuff, you’re going to make a thousand with it on contracts.”



“What? That’s just not possible. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys out there who would be happy to have a gun which doesn’t jam, and armor without pre-made bullet holes in it.”

“Of course there’s a market. But those kinds of ponies just don’t come to Friendship City to buy their stuff. They’ll either go to the Silver Rush in Tenpony, or even push to Megamart in the Hoof – if they aren’t working for Red Eyes, in which case they’d have plenty of good stuff waiting for them in Fillydelphia. But coming here, to my shop, in Friendship City? You’re really the only regular I’ve ever had.”
I shrugged.
“Yeah, well, try to find JSF hoof-loaded .308 cartridges in those places. I swear, VanGraff would shoot you for asking for gunpowder-based ammunition, Red Eyes would laugh and throw you in his forsaken slave pits, and you’d be killed before you even reach Megamart.”

“Nobody cares about these kinds of wares you know. You know what they want? They want guns that make a lot of noise, got a lot of spread, and use cheap ammo, so they can shower their targets with lead while ducking for cover or something. The worse are those guys with PipBucks. They don’t even give a damn about the stuff I’m selling, all they want is nice statistics popping on their legs! Can you believe that?”

“Trust me I do”, I sighed. To me, PipBucks were really a plague in the Wasteland. The only thing worse than a dumb Stable Dweller shooting at you with a plasma rifle was a dumb Stable Dweller, shooting at you, with a plasma rifle, using SATS. Who cares if they never held a rifle in their life? Those damned arcanics thingies will just adjust the shoot for them, and fat chance if you’re on the receiving end. Besides, I was kinda bitter of not having one myself. But hey, who needed a glorified inventory sorter anyway?

I levitated a small pouch from my saddlebags, and dropped it on the counter in front of me. It clicked with the metallic count of bottle caps.

“Okay then”, I added, “you got yourself a deal. But it’s really because I couldn’t bargain to save my life.”
And then, she laughed. I swear, back at the time I didn’t know if I should be backing away in awe or fear.

Let me be clear: Chrystal never laughs when it comes to business. Ever. It’s like me missing a shot at someone. Or the Wasteland being nice to somepony. It just doesn’t happen.
“Of course you can’t bargain. But I’m the one doing the cut in the first place, right? Why should you bargain that?”
… Yeah, she did have a point.
I just grabbed my freshly acquired stuff, and left without a word.

After all, I had someone waiting for me, and somehow I had the feeling this was going to be a very instructive encounter.

Author's Note:

Proofreading courtesy of Lepking13.

Since the Google Doc importer botches the layout and sometimes remove entire paragraphs, the original document is available here:
Shades of Grey: Prologue

NB: The first two chapters will be (eventually) submitted to extensive revisions. I only found my mark from the third chapter onward.

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